In some rather concerning news, 2016 5-star forward T.J. Leaf decommitted from Arizona and has reopened his recruitment process.
The forward from El Cajon, California was the only commitment that Sean Miller and the Arizona Wildcats had prior to Thursday night, and now they'll have to look elsewhere to fill out the 2016 recruiting class.
One "theory" of why Leaf revoked his commitment was because he was upset that he was cut from USA Basketball’s U19 World Championship Team - a team coached by none other than Sean Miller. It might've had something to do with it, but it's basically just internet speculation as of now.
Leaf's decision certainly hurts. Anytime you lose out on a top-20 prospect, it's a significant loss. And with the eventual departures of Ryan Anderson and Mark Tollefsen at the end of the season, and no other obvious incumbent options to replace them - Chance Comanche would be the likely candidate, though he is still unproven - it's now imperative that Arizona lands a power forward to replace Leaf. Obviously Arizona could use commitments from other positions as well, since the class is now completely empty, but the power forward position presents the most glaring need.
For 2016, there's Dusan Ristic and Chance Comanche at center. At point guard there's Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Justin Simon (perhaps Kadeem Allen at times, too). At shooting guard you could have Allen and Allonzo Trier (though he could be a one-and-done), and at small forward you have Ray Smith and Elliott Pitts. There's not much of anything at power forward though.
Luckily, the 2016 class is still wide open and there are a lot of highly-ranked players available.
One current Arizona target is 6-8 forward Josh Jackson - a top-3 overall prospect. He took an official visit to Arizona earlier in the summer and came away impressed with the school. Sean Miller also coached Jackson on the U19 USA World Championship Team. Still, Kansas is considered to land him at the moment.
Another option is De'Ron Davis, who recently listed Arizona in his final three.
Arizona, Indiana,Texas ✌— De'Ron Davis (@DDavis2016) July 29, 2015
The 6-8 PF/C from Aurora, Colorado is the 58th ranked player in ESPN's Top 150.
M.J. Cage, a 4-star PF/C from Mater Dei and the 79th player in ESPN's Top 150, is another player I've heard that Arizona has a good shot of landing. The Wildcats are also in on Tucson's Mitch Lightfoot, a 6-8 3-star forward that also has an offer from Kansas.
There are a dozen of other prospects that Arizona is undoubtedly recruiting too, and the graduate transfer market is always an underrated option as well if worse comes to worst.
Regardless, Sean Miller has options and eventually he'll likely land one, or maybe more of these prospects. Leaf's decommitment just raises the pressure on the coaching staff to get moving a little bit.
That said, I trust the process and I'm sure when all is said and done this Leaf decommitment will be just water under the bridge - well, this is Tucson, so maybe it'll be the desert sand under the bridge, but whatever.
Who knows, maybe this was similar to the Tyler Dorsey situation where Arizona was reportedly the one that pulled the plug on the commitment and then landed a higher-ranked prospect - Allonzo Trier - shortly after (I doubt it, but a little irrationality never hurt anyone).